Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

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The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is "an international agreement which aims to ensure the safe handling, transport and use of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health. It was adopted on 29 January 2000 and entered into force on 11 September 2003."[1] One of the main issues initially was the signing of Advanced Informed Agreements (AIAs) prior to the shipment of a subset of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) referred to as Living Genetically Modified Organisms (LMOs). The U.S. maintained that AIAs should only be required for GMO seed shipments, but not for shipments of genetically modified commodities intended for processing or consumption.[2] Other major issues were whether or not the treaty would be subordinate to the WTO and whether a nation could reject GMOs due to unknown risks (i.e. whether they could follow the precautionary principle and consider a new technology unsafe until proven safe).

The U.S., which could not vote on the Cartagena Protocol because it had not ratified the parent treat, the Convention on Biological Diversity, was joined in its position by Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina.[3][4] In 1999, the E.U. accused the U.S. of trying to "void the Protocol of any real content" by "excluding 99% of the genetically modified organisms that the Protocol is supposed to cover."[5] Pushing an even more stringent set of rules than the E.U. was a group of African nations led by Ethiopia.[6]

After the 1999 talks ended without an agreement, the nations came together again in early 2000. At issue was whether or not the Cartagena Protocol would be subordinate to the WTO. "WTO rules say that only "scientific proof" is a valid reason for rejecting a product. But the EU and developing nations want to be able to reject genetically altered products as a precaution, based on reasonable fears."[7]


U.S. Position Prior to 1999 Talks

At the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, two major conventions were signed: the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity. As noted in a State Department background briefing shortly afterward:

"The purpose of the convention on biological diversity is to set a different term of reference for the transfer and protection and conservation of genetic resources -- plant, animal, microbial, genetic resources -- all over the world, because it was recognized that everyone has a stake in protecting such genetic resources, and that biological diversity is essential for the survival of all species on earth.
"After the Biological Diversity Convention came into force, part of the agreement on its adoption was that the parties would begin to negotiate what they called at the time a biosafety protocol. A biosafety protocol was designed to examine the transfer of what we in the United States call "genetically modified organisms," what has increasingly been called a subset of them -- "living genetically modified organisms."
"In most cases, these refer to bioengineered plants and other material, which could include microbial material, such as viruses, bacteria transferred for research, and also vaccines which are live and are increasingly used in the treatment of a number of diseases. So you have basically pharmaceuticals potentially affected and agricultural products potentially affected. What has occurred over the past three years in this negotiation is that the parties to the convention have outlined a range of approaches in dealing with the transfer and trade of these organisms. And what is so important to the United States is that we are the largest producer of bioengineered crops and certainly among the largest and most important producers of biogenetic pharmaceuticals.
So we're talking about a layer on the existing World Trade Organization regime in the transfer of a number of products. To put this in perspective, from just the ag trade of the United States alone, we export about $60 billion a year in ag trade. Currently, most of our coarse grains are mixed with genetically modified grains so we have hybrids and genetically modified being mixed in bulk shipments as they go out from the United States. So in theory, this could apply broadly, if it is of very broad scope, it could apply to everything we ship in the ag sector if we don't start separating out genetically modified strains from regular hybridized strains."[2]

At the time, the U.S. was not a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity because Congress would not ratify it. However, they participated in the biosafety negotiations nonetheless. The U.S. objective in the Cartagena negotiations was "to support the intent of the Biological Diversity Convention, which is to ensure the safe transfer and use of genetic resources, including living modified organisms or genetically modified organisms." They emphasized that "there is a way to approach this so that you achieve both the environmental objective and the trade objective."

Another State Department official then spoke, adding once again that "we believe that we can come out of Cartagena with a very positive outcome both for the environment -- that is to say, the conservation of biodiversity -- and to protect the openness of the trading system in food, particularly agricultural commodities."[2] He or she added:

"This particularly negotiation... has numerous issues that are in disagreement, a large number of issues that are in disagreement. And the depth of that disagreement is substantial. So the odds of actually there being agreement are probably at best 50-50. We are not interested in any agreement -- we're interested in a good agreement, because the potential also exists for not only for one that is what we think good for protecting biodiversity and good for trade, but there are those that are the opposite. And let me just say a word about how we focused. The key issue in this for the environment is that -- sort of the thing that is contested is something called Advanced Informed Agreement. That is to say, every time you ship a product -- that the exporter ships a product -- and we're talking in the tens of billions of dollars here -- they have to get a permit from the importer to export the product, whether or not there's any risk. I mean, there are some countries who want every shipment of every product covered by a permit, when the product itself may have no risk associated which we think would cause great damage to the trading system.
"Where we think the environmental protectionism is important ways when we send seeds for either field testing or for planting in a country, then the AIA -- that is to say, getting their agreement for these -- is appropriate. But if you're sending corn, if it's done this way -- there are three ways to send corn. You can send seeds for planting, you can send seeds for conversion into corn oil or product, or you can send corn oil.
"The spectrum of outcomes ranges from those that would like to cover every shipment of corn oil with a permit, to those who would like to require every shipment of just the corn to be turned into corn oil. And then there are those who think that they're going to be planted. That's us, because we think the environmental risk is there. We have taken a view that we ought to focus the energy of the international system where the risk is, not where it isn't."[2]

The official noted that the convention focuses only on biodiversity, so it would not address any potential health risks associated with GMOs. Those would be addressed by GATT, WTO, and Codex Alimentarius.

The official continued:

"There's a mixed set of views in the developing world on this. Originally, the protocol was thought to be something to help the developing world figure out how to deal with this technology. But there are many developing countries that are agricultural exporters and concerned about the impact. There are some that are both exporters and importers. Importers have to be concerned, because if they set up too many blocks to getting their stuff into their own country, they may have a problem with their supply of food on the one hand.
"On the other hand, if they're exporters and they run into trouble, they could have problems with a very important element of their economies. In addition, if you take some of the more extreme proposals on the table, a country that actually turns cotton into blue jeans could be caught up in this, because it's called a "product thereof." That is to say, the cotton is genetically modified so you make the cotton into a cloth, and then make the cloth into blue jeans, the blue jeans would be subject to a permit. There are actually proposals on the table for that...
"So we've taken the view that there's a very constructive outcome that as I mentioned two parts. One is an advanced reformed agreement that focused on when you actually take the seeds and put them in the ground -- that's where you ought to get permission. The second part is information shifts. That is to say one of the sources of this protocol is distrust of new technology. We feel it would be extremely appropriate to the international community to share widely all the regulatory information that is publicly out there, to set up a system where countries could instantaneously get a hold of the information of any new product and raise what issues they have, rather than constructing a highly rigid regime that could have very damaging effects to trade."[2]

One of the officials speaking added:

"We see a distinction between the international regime and what countries choose to do domestically. So we are not saying -- and in fact we think the agreement ought to acknowledge that countries can regulate more things than would be covered under the agreement procedures. But our view is that the agreement should reflect the international consensus about which LMOs are most likely to have effects on biological diversity, what countries choose -- which we think are those that are going to be intentionally introduced into the environment -- seeds, fish -- if you release them into streams or microorganisms for remediation.
"But we are not saying -- and the countries can't -- and indeed we recognize that they can regulate more. If they want to regulate agricultural commodities under their domestic systems because they have particular concerns for their countries, fine. But we don't think it's a good idea to mandate that every country in the world regulate everything, because that will be a very hard system to change as experience with LMOs grows."[2]

The State Department officials also noted that they wanted the Cartagena Protocol to be consistent with the WTO. And under the WTO a country must have a scientific basis to block an import (like a genetically modified crop). Consumer preference is not a sufficient basis under the WTO. Also, they noted that consumer labeling of GMOs should be left to the Codex Alimentarius discussions and should be left out of the Cartagena Protocol. The official added:

"Now, there is also an issue within the protocol about whether there should be some kind of documentation accompanying LMOs -- not products of LMOs. And our position has been not to favor that, in part because nobody has really thought through what they mean by that. If you ask people "Well, what do you mean, documentation? What would it say?," you know, you get a whole range of responses if you ask other countries. And you know, it's a different thing if you're talking about documentation that might accompany seed or something like that, or if you're talking about documentation that might accompany bulk agricultural shipments of corn, where you'd have a number of varieties mixed in. It's different. (Laughs.) So it's a tough issue. And it is an issue in the negotiations."[2]

The official noted that the U.S. wished to limit the scope of the Cartagena agreement to "AIA, Advance Informed Agreement for products being introduced into the environment, and information sharing" and if any additional issues were brought into the negotiations, the likelihood of reaching an agreement would decrease.[2]

EU Position Prior to 1999 Talks

Prior to the final negotiations, the E.U.'s Environment Commission put out a press release calling for a Biosafety Protocol "based on the precautionary principle which balances environmental and trade concerns" and accusing "the main exporters of genetically modified agricultural crops" of trying to "void the Protocol of any real content."[8] According to the release:

"The biotech crop-exporting countries favour positions that would result in a Protocol without any environmental credibility. They favour the exclusion of agricultural commodities; that is, all commercial mass movements from the scope of the Protocol. This would in practice mean excluding 99% of the genetically modified organisms that the Protocol is supposed to cover. Another position canvassed by crop-exporting countries is to void the Protocol of any substance by putting all obligations under the Protocol on the Party of import (mostly developing countries) and eliminating any burdens on the Party of export (mostly developed countries). The result would be a Protocol with an unfair balance of obligations between the Parties of export and the Parties of import, aiming primarily at liberalising biotech trade."

1999 Negotiations Break Down

By February 17, newspaper headlines worldwide declared that the talks were stalled.[9] "Business interests stall UN talks on environment," declared a headline from Agence France Presse -- English on February 21, 1999. "Protectionism trumps science as gene-altered products are shut out" countered a USA TODAY headline the following day. By February 24, the headlines read "U.S. is Soundly Criticized for its Tactics at Session on Biotech Shipments; Narrow Focused Treaty is Sought by Six Countries," (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) and "Deal Unlikely on Biotech Crops: U.S. Under Fire for Bid to 'Torpedo' Negotiations" (The Toronto Star). The six nations were the United States and its allies - Australia, Canada, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile. A British headline read "The US wasn't even officially there, yet it still dominated the biosafety."[10] On February 23, a report noted:[11]

"Last week the British delegation broke rank with its European Union colleagues when it helped to write a set of proposals in favour of the US position, which will form the watered-down basis of any treaty signed today
"The proposals essentially reduce any potential agreement to govern trade in genetically engineered seed and offer few or no restrictions on trade in genetically engineered grain to be used in food, and other commodities containing GMOs.
"Unless the majority of the countries can force the conference to accept their agenda at the eleventh-hour, the right to say no to the import of genetically modified organisms will not be subject to global agreement, except in the case of seeds. It will be left to individual states, whose decisions can be challenged before the World Trade Organisation."

'"I don't think that it's fair that we come here and negotiate for two weeks to make sure that U.S. business has a free market in Africa," said Joseph Gopo, director of Zimbabwe's biotech research institute.'[12]

Later that year, a European report characterized the failed negotiations as follows:

"Discussions in February floundered on a number of questions, most notably:
  • the proposed scope of the treaty regulations: certain delegations are anxious to restrict the scope of the Protocol to GMOs intended for introduction into the environment, such as seeds. Others argue for a broader scope that would include agricultural commodities and processed products containing dead modified organisms or non-living modified organism components.
  • liability: if GMOs enter the environment and cause damage, who pays?
  • how should potential socio-economic impacts be minimised, notably the competitive decline of traditional crops faced with GMO imports.
  • the Protocol's relationship to other international Agreements, particularly those under the World Trade Organisation.
"The biosafety talks reflect growing public concern over the potential risks of biotechnology. Many countries with modern biotechnology industries do have domestic legislation but there are no binding international Agreements covering GMOs that cross national borders because of trade or accidental releases. Another concern is that many developing countries lack the technical, financial, institutional, and human resources to address biosafety. They need greater capacity for assessing and managing risks, establishing adequate information systems, and developing expert human resources in biotechnology."[13]

2000 Negotiations

The negotiations resumed in Montreal, Canada January 24-28, 1999.[14] This second round of negotiations took place in the immediate aftermath of the 1999 Battle of Seattle. One issue was whether or not the rules for GMOs set in the Cartagena Protocol would be subordinate to WTO rules. The E.U. was fiercely opposed to this:[15]

""With European fears growing about the safety of GM foods," the E.U. wants advance notification and full traceability of any GMO imports, as well as precautionary labeling of foods, the BBC reports. Backers of genetic engineering would prefer that such products be dealt with under the rules of the World Trade Organization, which would require the E.U. to produce proof of a health risk to an international panel, which would then rule on whether the products are safe to ship. A U.S. proposal to create a WTO working group on biosafety was not acted on amid the confusion of the recent WTO meeting in Seattle."

The negotiations were taking place just after GMOs came under criticism in the U.S. for harming monarch butterflies and right after Golden Rice was touted as a GMO that could help the malnourished in poor nations.

U.S. Position Going Into 2000 Talks

On January 19, 2000, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International and Environmental and Scientific Affairs, David Sandalow, gave a press briefing on the upcoming negotiations. It was moderated by Marjorie Ransom, director of the Department of State Foreign Press Centers.[16]

Sandalow began with an opening statement, saying, "We must pursue the benefits of biotechnology, not just the risks. Biotechnology offers many potential benefits." As an example, he noted a claim that GMOs can reduce pesticide usage and also "reduce pressure on rain forests" by increasing yields so that less land is needed for agriculture. These are popular talking points touted by biotech advocates, often without supporting data to prove their veracity. Sandalow continued:

"In addition, modern biotechnology can help us improve nutrition and feed poor children around the world. Just this week Science magazine reports exciting new data bout Vitamin A enriched rice. Using the tools of modern biotechnology, scientists have discovered ways to enhance the Vitamin A content of rice. This offers important potential for helping to address problems related to Vitamin A deficiency, including vision problems in children around the world. But Vitamin A enrichment isn't the only prospect for enhancing nutritional content of food; there are also important opportunities that scientists are pursuing related to iron enrichment, micro- nutrient enrichment, making foods low cholesterol foods and other benefits for consumers around the world. So biotechnology offers many potential benefits.
"Biotechnology also presents risks that must be addressed. I come from an environmental background, and I believe that there are risks related to the use of biotechnology, and that we must address them responsibly. In the United States we have a regulatory structure which is doing that, and doing that very effectively. The USDA and EPA among other agencies look at these risks and have addressed them. In prior years we are always looking at ways to improve the way in which we address these issues as well."

Then he turned to the negotiations at hand:

"That's a general discussion about biotechnology. Let me also talk then about the biosafety protocol negotiations that will start tomorrow in Montreal. The United States joins with its Miami Group allies in these negotiations, and along with other members of the Miami Group, which include Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, Canada and Australia."

He outlined a few U.S. priorities. First, the U.S. wished to keep the discussion away from food safety and focus solely on protection of biodiversity. Then he added:

"Second, we believe the parties should focus on areas of agreement. There are significant areas of convergence among the parties, and if parties are willing to focus on those areas and shape an agreement around areas of convergence, we believe that a biosafety protocol can be reached which addresses the concerns of all parties, and would help protect the environment and address concerns related to biotechnology around the globe."

In the Q&A, Sandalow characterized the EU position as follows:

"On the documentation issue, the European Union has proposed, we understand, a requirement that individual crops that might be the product of modern biotechnology be traced from the field where they are planted all the way to the dock where they are off-loaded. We don't believe that that is practical without billions of dollars of new investments in agricultural infrastructure.
"With respect to the so-called savings clause, the European Union has proposed -- as I understand the European Union's position, it is that the protocol should take precedence over the WTO on a variety of matters. We don't believe that's appropriate. We believe that this is a relationship of equals, and that the -- and that the biosafety protocol text should reflect that. In order to do so, the biosafety protocol text should state clear that nothing in this agreement will affect the rights or obligations of countries under other international agreements. Without such language the biosafety protocol would take precedence over the WTO as I understand it.
"Then with respect to other negotiating blocs, the Like-Minded Group, which is a very important negotiating bloc in these negotiations, is seeking an advanced informed agreement mechanism on commodities. That's a pretty technical phrase, so let me explain what it means. There is a -- the proposal would require countries who are exporting commodities, including bulk commodities such as corn, cotton, to notify importing countries and seek consent before any shipment is allowed into the importing countries. And the importing country under this proposal would be able to deny entry without attention to the other -- without attention to principles of sound science, but could do so for other broader reasons. We strongly oppose that proposal, and believe that it would significantly disrupt world food trade. It would have many of the same problems of the documentation proposals that I identified earlier. It would require massive new investment in agricultural infrastructure in order to segregate crops to meet those requirements."

Sandalow added that the U.S. supports the establishment of a biosafety clearinghouse, a would be a central mechanism where information concerning modern biotechnology would be gathered. The information would be available on the internet. He explained it as follows:

"The Miami Group has made a proposal relating to the biosafety clearinghouse since Cartagena, and this is an important step forward by the Miami Group since the Cartagena negotiations. Under that proposal, all countries would agree to give information to the biosafety clearinghouse promptly after any domestic approval related to a genetically modified crop. So, for example, if the United States approved genetically modified corn for planting, we would agree within a very short timeframe to post all that information with the biosafety clearinghouse. That type of information-sharing procedure, and also common understandings of risk assessment, for example, that can help countries manage the risks and pursue the benefits associated with biotechnology. In addition, the Miami Group supports a proposal to apply this AIA procedure to any organisms that will be intentionally introduced in the environment, or certainly genetically modified organisms that will be intentionally introduced into the environment.
"Most significantly that includes seeds for planting. We believe that's particularly appropriate for an agreement that is intended to focus on environmental issues and impact on biodiversity. And these two proposals, the biosafety clearinghouse and the AIA procedure, foresee other GMOs to be intentionally introduced into the environment from an extremely strong background, and can help countries address issues related to biotechnology."

One of the journalists attending, noted that developing nations want commodities, whether destined for food or feed or processing, to require AIAs because often they wind up being planted as seed even if that was not their intended purpose. He asked:

"I understand that there was a trip by Miami Group representatives to Africa in which that was shown to them. Given that, is the Miami Group willing to agree to any type of AIA procedure for those commodities given the fact that they're -- you can't -- in -- less developed countries can't separate the fact the one is for seed and others are perhaps not destined for seed but will wind up as seed?"

Sandalow responded:

"We think it's very important to share information about modern biotechnology to help developing countries who wish to receive assistance to develop the capacity to evaluate scientific evidence concerning biotechnology. But the type of AIA procedure applying to commodities that has been proposed would disrupt world food trade without significant environmental benefits.
"We haven't seen evidence that the type of issue that you're talking about is a significant problem with respect to biodiversity anywhere -- anywhere on the planet."

In other answers, Sandalow noted that Japan, which has tried to play a "brokering role" in the talks is a member of the so-called Compromise Group, and the members of the Like-Minded Group are African countries, led by Ethiopia. The Miami Group was so named because one of its first meetings was held in Miami.

Reaching a Compromise

By the middle of the negotiations, a compromise seemed possible. "Under the US-supported compromise currently under discussion, the Biosafety Protocol would govern international environmental issues only, but countries would still keep their own domestic regulations on genetically modified organisms if they have such rules. But countries could still turn to the World Trade Organization to settle disputes, even if the dispute was over these organisms."[17] Although the U.S. dominated the negotiations, as they had the year before, they still would not be able to vote because they still had not ratified the parent treaty, the Convention on Biological Diversity. In Montreal, Novartis lobbyist Willy de Greef said:

"A failure of the negotiations would just reinforce the opposition" to bioengineered products and feed the mistrust of consumers "who will make the final decision," de Greef said.
"That's why we are in favor of a protocol, even a restrictive one, as long as it has a consistent set of regulations that are clear and respected."[18]

On January 27, a tentative compromise was reached:[19]

"Under the tentative plan, a central clearinghouse would be established to process information and concerns about agricultural biotechnology. The clearinghouse would essentially provide a forum for those countries with concerns about agricultural genetic engineering to act upon their concerns by either demanding more information or prohibiting imports of GMO foods, but importing countries may decline the right to get involved in the clearinghouse process if they so choose. Under the tentative plan, it would be incumbent upon an exporting country to notify the clearinghouse that a product or crop being exported contains GMOs. And if the importing country has concerns, it may request any further information, including risk assessment studies.
"There are two issues holding up final agreement on the protocol, according to Kristin Dawkins, director of trade and agriculture programs at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. The first issue regards whether the importing country has national legislation regarding agricultural biotechnology. According to Dawkins, the United States has argued that if a country does not have its own national legislation, it should not be permitted to participate in the Biosafety Protocol. Although many European countries have put in place laws on agricultural genetic engineering, some countries have not -- including the United States which regulates the issue through certain administrative rules rather than a comprehensive law.
"The second issue regards the relationship of the protocol to the World Trade Organization and whether the protocol would be superior to, equal to or subordinate to the WTO."

The meeting ended with two days of nearly non-stop negotiations, going until nearly dawn the morning after they were supposed to have finished.

The Deal

The final compromise was summarized as follows after it was announced:[20]

"Producers of genetically modified goods may have already completed research to win approval of their products from their own governments. But if that research is not sufficient to persuade other governments that the products are safe for the environment, countries may use their own standards of safety testing.
"To help countries decide whether they want to import a genetically modified product, the protocol calls for the creation of a clearinghouse where governments will post the results of their domestic safety tests for other countries to examine.
"Countries can also post their safety rules, so that biotechnology companies know each country's regulatory environment.
"If a country imports living creatures that will come into direct contact with the environment -- whether seeds, animals or bacteria -- they must have an explicit prior agreement with the exporter.
"About two-thirds of the crops planted with genetically altered seeds are grown in North America. Because the Canadian and US governments have decided to treat altered seeds like conventional ones, the harvests from both types are mixed.
"Under the protocol, countries like Canada and the United States will have to mark which shipments "may contain" genetically modified parts. The treaty also calls for future talks to set out more detailed documentation requirements.
"Countries can still decide not to accept products with genetically modified ingredients, if they have a sound, scientific reason for believing the product would damage the environment or human health. But they must have consistent rules about which products they will accept and must not set double standards for foreign and domestic products.
"Anything that will remain sealed and is just passing through another country is excluded from the rule. Medicines are also exempt because other agreements already regulate their safety.
"The Biosafety Protocol calls for further talks to formulate an international framework for determining which party or parties may be held liable if a genetically modified product causes environmental damage. Those talks must end within four years.
"The Biosafety Protocol will have the same status as the World Trade Organization in interntional law, but the pact leaves vague how the two sets of regulations will be reconciled in cases where compliance with one amounts to violation of the other.
"The treaty stipulates that the protocol does not change countries' obligations to other agreements, like the WTO, but that the protocol is not subordinate to the WTO.
"Negotiators seemed to have decided to wait for a trade dispute involving biologically modified goods to arise, leaving the WTO to work out, when the time comes, how to use the Biosafety Protocol in its own determinations."

The deal would not go into effect until it had been ratified by 50 countries.

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Accessed March 13, 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 State Department Background Briefing with state Department Officials on Biosafety Protocol Negotiations, Room 6824 U.S. State Department, February 2, 1999, Accessed via Lexis Nexis.
  3. Andrew Pollack, "Setting Rules for Biotechnology Trade," The New York Times, February 15, 1999.
  4. "Genetic Engineering: UN Conference Talks 'Deadlocked'," Greenwire, February 17, 1999.
  5. E.U. Press Release: "Biosafety Protocol negotiations endangered by diverging positions," February 11, 1999, Accessed via Lexis Nexis.
  6. Andrew Pollack, "Setting Rules for Biotechnology Trade," The New York Times, February 15, 1999.
  7. Griffin Shea, "EU, developing nations trying to win US over on biotech deal," Agence France Presse -- English, January 24, 2000.
  8. E.U. Press Release: "Biosafety Protocol negotiations endangered by diverging positions," February 11, 1999, Accessed via Lexis Nexis.
  9. "Genetic Engineering: UN Conference Talks 'Deadlocked'," Greenwire, February 17, 1999.
  10. Jeremy Lennard, "The US wasn't even officially there, yet it still dominated the biosafety," The Guardian, February 24, 1999.
  11. Jeremy Lennard, "Washington kills global pact to govern GM trade; US bars soya beans and maize from international biosafety deal," The Guardian, February 23, 1999.
  12. Frank Bajak, Gene-Modification Treaty Narrowed," Associated Press Online, February 23, 1999.
  13. "Biosafety: Negotiations to Resume Officially in January 2000," European Report, September 22, 1999.
  14. Mithre J. Sandrasagra, "Environment: Gov'ts to Conclude Biosafety Agreement," IPS-Inter Press Service, December 12, 1999.
  15. Genetic Engineering: Europe to Take Hard Line in U.N. Talks, Greenwire, December 14, 1999.
  16. State Department Briefing on the "Upcoming Biosafety Protocol Negotiations, Montreal, Canada, January 24-28, 2000," Held at the Foreign Press Center, Washington D.C., January 19, 2000.
  17. Griffin Shea, "Compromise possible on global biotech treaty: US, Canada,"Agence France Presse -- English, January 26, 2000.
  18. Griffin Shea, "Compromise possible on global biotech treaty: US, Canada,"Agence France Presse -- English, January 26, 2000.
  19. "Draft Agreement Among U.N. Ministers Reached for Trade in Biotechnology," Greenwire, January 27, 2000.
  20. Griffin Shea, "Pact sets out safety rules for biotechnology trade," Agence France Presse -- English, January 29, 2000.

External Resources

External Articles


  • "Bumpy ride expected at Montreal talks on modified foods," The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec), January 11, 2000.
  • Stuart Laidlaw and Laura Eggertson, "Modified Fodo Talks Reach Crucial Stage," The Toronto Star, January 18, 2000.
  • "Environment: Rough Ride Ahead for Biosafety Negotiations," European Report, January 19, 2000.
  • Griffin Shea, "Compromise possible on global biotech treaty: US, Canada,"Agence France Presse -- English, January 26, 2000.
  • Griffin Shea, "Industrial nations closer, developing countries hold out in biotech talks," Agence France Presse -- English, January 26, 2000.
  • Matt Crenson, "Farmers call for controls on genetically modified crops," Associated Press Worldstream, January 26, 2000.
  • Dennis Bueckert, "Political interest in the United Nations negotiations on how to regulate the trade in genetically modified good has mushroomed, with 50 environment ministers now expected to attend the conference today," Canadian Press Newswire, January 26, 2000.
  • Stuart Laidlaw, "Stances Toughen at Food Talks," The Toronto Star, January 26, 2000.
  • "Draft Agreement Among U.N. Ministers Reached for Trade in Biotechnology," Greenwire, January 27, 2000.
  • Andrew Pollack, "Optimism at Global Trade Talks on Genetically Modified Crops," The New York Times, January 27, 2000.
  • John Burgess, "Factions Face Off Over Gene-Altered Food; Advocacy Groups Lobby Delegates At Montreal Talks," Washington Post, January 28, 2000.
  • Matt Crenson, "Negotiators near agreement in U.N. gene talks," Associated Press Worldstream, January 28, 2000.
  • Alexander Panetta, "Environmentalists give cautious endorsement to Biosafety Protocol," Canadian Press Newswire, January 29, 2000.
  • Matt Crenson, "Negotiators seal deal on genetically modified foods," The Associated Press, January 29, 2000.
  • Matt Crenson, "Gene Talks Boil Down to Few Issues," Associated Press Online, January 29, 2000.
  • Griffin Shea, "Pact sets out safety rules for biotechnology trade," Agence France Presse -- English, January 29, 2000.


  • Henry I. Miller, "Politics and cynicism dominate UN biotech deliberations," Regulation, Vol. 22, No. 2 Pg. 5-6; ISSN: 0147-0590; CODEN: REGUD4, 1999.
  • A Y Mede, "Asia: Activists Step Up Lobby Ahead of Biosafety Talks," IPS-Inter Press Service, January 29, 1999.
  • Janelle Carter, "Biosafety pact could hit U.S. agricultural trade," Associated Press, February 6, 1999.
  • E.U. Press Release: "Biosafety Protocol negotiations endangered by diverging positions," February 11, 1999.
  • Andrew Duffy, "International rules to be set on trade of genetically altered food," The Ottawa Citizen, February 12, 1999.
  • Marc Selinger, "U.S. firms fear U.N. export protocol," The Washington Times, February 12, 1999.
  • European Report, Environment: Commission Throws Weight Behind Biosafety Protocol, February 13, 1999.
  • Andrew Pollack, "Setting Rules for Biotechnology Trade," The New York Times, February 15, 1999.
  • Adam Puharic, "Europe seen tightening reins on bioengineered foods," Platts Biotechnology Newswatch, February 15, 1999.
  • "US industry warning that Biosafety Protocol could harm trade and aid," Pharma Marketletter, February 16, 1999.
  • "Biodiversity Jeopardized in Cartagena Biosafety Negotiations," Canada NewsWire, February 16, 1999.
  • Frank Bajak, "Genetic engineering talks mired in rich, poor nation debate," The Associated Press, February 16, 1999.
  • Angela Sanchez, "Environment: Activists Challenge Biosafety Protocol," IPS-Inter Press Service, February 17, 1999.
  • "Genetic Engineering: UN Conference Talks 'Deadlocked'," Greenwire, February 17, 1999.
  • Ricardo Maldonado, "Biotech industry: Halting sales would impede trade," The Associated Press, February 17, 1999.
  • "UN holds first ever global meeting on "biosafety"," Agence France Presse -- English, February 17, 1999.
  • "Industry, activists debate safety of genetic manipulation," Agence France Presse -- English, February 17, 1999.
  • "Genetically modified free trade," The Economist, U.S. Edition, February 20, 1999.
  • Pablo Rodriguez, "Business interests stall UN talks on environment," Agence France Presse -- English, February 21, 1999.
  • Pablo Rodriguez, "Protests underscore differences in Colombian biodiversity talks," Agence France Presse -- English, February 21, 1999.
  • "Protectionism trumps science as gene-altered products are shut out," USA TODAY, February 22, 1999.
  • Frank Bajak, "International talks on regulating biotech organisms stalled," The Associated Press, February 22, 1999.
  • Pablo Rodriguez, "Prospects bleak on global biodiversity agreement,"Agence France Presse -- English, February 22, 1999.
  • Bill Lambrecht, "Compromise is Proposed for Pact on Genetically Altered Products; New Rules Could Exempt Some Farm Commodities," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 22, 1999.
  • "US industry warning that Biosafety Protocol could harm trade and aid," Marketletter, February 22, 1999.
  • Andrew Pollack, "Biotechnology Treaty Stalls as U.S. and Developing Nations Quarrel," The New York Times, February 23, 1999.
  • Jeremy Lennard, "Washington kills global pact to govern GM trade; US bars soya beans and maize from international biosafety deal," The Guardian, February 23, 1999.
  • "U.S. is Soundly Criticized for its Tactics at Session on Biotech Shipments; Narrow Focused Treaty is Sought by Six Countries," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 24, 1999.
  • "Deal Unlikely on Biotech Crops: U.S. Under Fire for Bid to 'Torpedo' Negotiations," The Toronto Star, February 24, 1999.
  • Jeremy Lennard, "The US wasn't even officially there, yet it still dominated the biosafety," The Guardian, February 24, 1999.
  • Frank Bajak, "Six-nation U.S.-led bloc sinks international talks on regulating biogenetics," Associated Press Worldstream, February 24, 1999.
  • "Biosafety: Negotiations to Resume Officially in January 2000," European Report, September 22, 1999.
  • Tom Paulson, "Dispute Over Genetically Altered Food: For Public, It's a Big Harvest vs. Safety and Control Issues," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 23, 1999.


  • "Food groups warn of trade disruption from proposed biotech treaty," Food Chemical News, Vol. 40 No. 45, December 28, 1998.